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Despite Back Taxes Owed, Selectmen Renew Sierra's Liquor License

The popular Sudbury resident owes about $18K to the Town of Sudbury.

From left, Town Manager Maureen Valente, Vice Chair Chuck Woodard and Chair John Drobinski are seen during the Dec. 3 Board of Selectmen meeting. Staff photo by Robert Fucci
From left, Town Manager Maureen Valente, Vice Chair Chuck Woodard and Chair John Drobinski are seen during the Dec. 3 Board of Selectmen meeting. Staff photo by Robert Fucci

When Sierra's Restaurant abruptly closed earlier this year, it came as a shock to residents who frequented the popular Mexican eatery.

Owner Sam Cannarozzi closed his business of 23 years without a hint last spring, siting financial struggles.

During the Dec. 3 Board of Selectmen meeting, where the Board voted to renew numerous liquor licenses in town, Finance Director/Treasurer Collector Andrea Terkelsen explained some of those struggles were tax related.

Between 2012-13, Sierra's owed the Town of Sudbury more than $23,000 in back taxes, but recently paid $5,000 toward a plan to pay for what's owed. 

"The proprietors have changed things a bit and hope to make a go of it," Terkelsen said. "The liquor license is important for the type of business they have."

The biggest change is going from a Mexican-style restaurant to a more American-pub-style eatery.

Terkelsen recommended to the Board to renew the liquor license with the understanding Sierra's keeps up with a monthly payment plan.

"It makes things a bit trickier than we’d like, but my recommendation is to consider providing a 2014 license provided they are able to keep up with terms of written agreement," she said.

The Board agreed unanimously to renew the license.

The payment plan calculates taxes, fees and charges to that date. If the debt is paid off early, Sierra's would save about $3,000 in interest.

"We do have lien on the property, so the next course of action would be to assume the balance in land court for foreclosure," Terkelsen explained if Sierra's stopped making payments. "It's a long process and adds to the expense ... we don’t want to be property owners."

"The positive thing is we’re getting paid (and) not getting stiffed," Chair John Drobinski said.

Selectmen Len Simon asked for an update on the unpaid taxes in the next four to six months.

"He understands if he doesn’t make monthly payment he’s in breach," Terkelsen said. "Then it's up to you to decide at a public hearing to revoke or suspend the license at that point."

"I think this (plan) is iron clad," Drobinski said. "The town is protected."

pmotw December 04, 2013 at 11:22 AM
It's nice the town can afford to do this for some taxpayers while announcing tax increases for others. It seems my tax dollars are in dire need every quarter and need to be paid on time. Guess the rules are different for some people.
john baranowsky December 04, 2013 at 11:45 AM
Well now that Bob Quirk is dead, someone has to take his place as the leader of the property tax avoider society here in Sudbury. Move over Mr. Tyler!
pmotw December 04, 2013 at 11:50 AM
Who's paying the taxes on the old Frost Farm house someone is living in? Was that deal extended beyond the 10 years? Last I saw, there was an addition being constructed. Must be nice.
Silence DoBad December 05, 2013 at 09:11 AM
This is a handout given Sierra's so that the Town "Managers" can hold their meetings after hours get snot-slinging-drunk then drive home. Ahhhh, must be nice to be in charge... You can have your personal Speak-Easy. Lest we forget: http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/news/x1225004638/Post-Town-Meeting-gathering-raises-ire-in-Sudbury
Silence DoBad December 05, 2013 at 09:15 AM
You KNOW, this should be like the Night Before Christmas Story, Told every year to remind us how much our town Selectmen care for us poor constituents: (MetroWest Daily article below) O’Brien admitted he was part of a group of people who went to the Rte. 20 restaurant after the annual session and stayed until just after 2 a.m., nearly an hour after police say the establishment’s liquor license allows. He read from a brief statement indicating his “regret” for not paying attention to the time that night before recusing himself and leaving the meeting room. The remaining officials in the room, including selectman John Drobinski and Town Manager Maureen Valente, both of whom also admitted they were at Lavender that night, as well as Haarde, who wasn’t, spent the following hour debating what the board’s course of action should be. At the heart of the matter was the question of officials’ role in the restaurant’s decision to stay open after hours. Lavender’s manager, Tim Fong, told police it was his decision, and that he lost track of time, said Lt. Scott Nix of the Sudbury police department, which investigated. But Haarde, who was angry that Police Chief Richard Glavin, who issued a warning to the restaurant after the incident, was not asked to attend Tuesday night’s meeting, questioned whether the presence of selectmen, who are the town’s liquor licensing authority, might have influenced Fong. “You can’t just put this on Lavender,” he said, adding at the very least, the board’s role in the matter could be perceived as a conflict of interest. “This could be construed that the board thinks the rules don’t apply to us.” Another item of intrigue stemming from the Lavender incident was how much partygoers knew about town employee Elizabeth Rust, who police say left the restaurant intoxicated and crashed her car on Concord Road around 12:40 a.m. She was taken to Emerson Hospital to be treated and was later issued a summons for an drunken driving charge, her third, according to Nix. Read more: http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/news/x1225004638/Post-Town-Meeting-gathering-raises-ire-in-Sudbury#ixzz2mbrvezkP Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Non-Commercial Follow us: @metrowestdaily on Twitter | MetroWestDailyNews on Facebook Read more: http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/news/x1225004638/Post-Town-Meeting-gathering-raises-ire-in-Sudbury#ixzz2mbrZ2ROj Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Non-Commercial Follow us: @metrowestdaily on Twitter | MetroWestDailyNews on Facebook
Silence DoBad December 05, 2013 at 09:16 AM
Hey Look for some reason they are all STILL OUR TOWN SELECTMEN!!!
pmotw December 05, 2013 at 09:47 AM
Sierra's is too long of a walk for Mr. Drobinski and I don't think someone will be able to give him a lift this time. BTW, why weren't more questions asked about Mr. Drobinski when he was reported missing? Did he drive? Where was his car? How did he get from Lavender's to his home?
Silence DoBad December 05, 2013 at 11:50 AM
The DWI COUNCIL-OF-ELDERS...
Ella December 09, 2013 at 09:18 AM
How is it that if I forget to pay my Sudbury water bill (of all of about $120), I have to pay the bill plus fees or my water will be turned off & Sierra's gets to putter along owing $18,000??? Really??? Who from town gave them warnings and deadlines to meet -with the consequence being shut down if not paid up? How was this tax bill allowed to reach such a high amount? If Sierras closed down and DID not reopen, our town would not receive a penny in back taxes...who's in charge of this? So now we have a payment plan with the deadbeat owner of a mediocre restaurant. Give us a name so we can actually blame someone for costing our town money and not having the clearheaded, responsible oversight we need when it comes to town finances! This is ridiculous!!!
Ella December 09, 2013 at 09:34 AM
Oh, this also reminds me of the way the land and dilapidated house next to town center was purchased by our town selectmen. The owners of the property owed lots in back taxes. Town purchased the land at the "going rate". Why would we buy it at the going rate? No one would have bought that land-bad location-AND the cost for demo and trashing the property would have been enormous! Poor negotiating if any was done! Town should have offered the estate (owners children?) forgiving back taxes and MUCH less than "going rate"...perhaps 20% less (about $70k) due to the amount of work and cost for our town- to get that eyesore taken down. Town employees were working there for weeks with heavy equipment and town landscaping workers spent many hours getting that spot to look the way it does. Lets not forget this was a BIG expense for our town. Did our selectmen work hard to negotiate with the owners on OUR behalf? No way! Who's trying to get the best deal for us? No one on the board who had anything to do with this deal!!!
Silence DoBad December 09, 2013 at 07:46 PM
They can't use Lavender as their personal Speak Easy anymore. Best buy the next alternative off.

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